wrestling / Columns

411’s WWE TLC 2017 Preview

October 22, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WWE TLC 2017


* 411 columnist, Mr. Brandon Ewing.
* 411 columnist, Mr. Justin Watry.
* 411 contributor, Mr. Mitch Nickelson.
* 411’s resident NXT reporter, Mr. Kevin Pantoja.
* 411 contributor, Mr. Ken Hill.
* 411 columnist, Mr. Jake Chambers.
* 411 columnist, Mr. Steve Cook.

Kickoff Show Match: Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox

Ken Hill:

Sasha and Alicia be all kinds of “cray-cray”,
That’s how these “bitches” be booked.
This feud’s certainly not well-Dunn,
But Kevin’s brain certainly be overcooked.

Little more than a placeholder feud for Sasha while she’s on the backburner for a title shot…methinks I need to ‘simmer’ down with the kitchen puns.

WINNER: Sasha Banks.

Brandon Ewing: Solid build-up to a match that, in my opinion, should be on the main card. Nevertheless, I’m happy to see WWE give Alicia Fox a minor push – and a t-shirt (finally!). “The Bo$$” got a couple of good victories over Alicia under her belt on RAW, which sent Alicia off the deep end this past Monday night. Alicia has much more to prove and needs a solid win to solidify any sort of a push. Sasha Banks can take a loss here and be okay, where as Alicia is one of the veteran on the RAW women’s roster that can use this victory to make her a serious contender for a future Women’s title match down the road.

WINNER: Alicia Fox

JUSTIN WATRY: Here is a little secret: I am a fan of Alicia Fox. Her Womens Championship win years ago was well deserved, and every single time she is called on to do something, it is entertaining. I dubbed her as one of my three “It Girls” years ago, and she is still around kicking (no pun intended). That being said, this does not appear to be much more than filler for the Kickoff Show and a way to give Sasha Banks another win. In my own perfect world, Fox would be a regular part of RAW, and Sasha would be heel feuding with Bayley. That is just me though.

WINNER: Sasha Banks

Steve Cook: I wrote about all the Raw Women’s Division Matches on this show. There are still reports of Sasha going heel, which I’m not sure is a great idea since the fans already turned on Bayley.

WINNER: Sasha Banks

Kevin Pantoja: It looks like it’s time for the annual mild Alicia Fox push. They never work because she’s flat out no good. Sasha Banks hasn’t been much better in 2017, so putting this on the Kickoff Show makes sense. I’m way more interested in Drew Gulak’s Powerpoint presentation on the Kickoff show. I could see the match going either way. Sasha could win, because she’s Sasha, while Alicia could win to set her up as Asuka’s next victim. It depends on how slowly they want to take the Asuka stuff. I’ll go with Sasha.

WINNER: Sasha Banks

Jake Chambers: No one is looking for this match, it’s a total waste of time. What is the point of the “Kickoff” show anyways? They have that faux sports-talk roundtable thing where these “analysts” converse in this weird half-speak where it’s impossible to know if they are pretending it’s a real competition or just smark talking about wrestlers putting on “good performances”. Bores the fuck out of me. And then they go and squeeze in some bullshit match like this, I guess to, like, check the white balance or something for the cameras? I don’t know. I mean, wouldn’t it be so nice if everything was awesome? Or maybe just even trying to be awesome? That’s apparently too much to ask.

WINNER: Hmm, the one with the really long colorful hair extensions

Mitch Nickelson: This is the kickoff match and it isn’t a major angle, so I’ll stick with the usual babyface wins in the first match to give everyone a good first impression philosophy. This all feels simply like a nothing feud to pass the time for Mrs. Banks while she’s not in the title picture, which is kind of a shame for both ladies. I’ve grown to love the crazy Alicia Fox character and I wish WWE would book her even slightly more seriously. Even if she’s just dating another random dude on 205 Live, some Foxy on TV is better than no Foxy on TV. It also should be noted that Fox bloodied Banks on Raw this past week. My fingers are crossed that they start shooting on each other midway through the match.

WINNER: Sasha Banks

Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick vs. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann

Ken Hill:

No Cena and Brock, a heavy main event,
Cruiserweights now have time to shine.
Rich’s Swann dives are always a plus,
And spines galore for Cedric to align!

Nice to see the other cruiserweights get a modicum of spotlight on TLC, what with Brock and Cena sitting the PPV out and a loaded 3-on-5 main event. It’d be moderately more interesting to see the “un-gentlemanly” duo pick up a win here, but with my prediction for the CW Title already on the bad end, best to balance it out with a pick for the good guys here. Plus, another opportunity to watch Gallagher sell the Lumbar Check like a cannon shot.

WINNER: Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann

Brandon Ewing: Very surprised by the heel turn for Jack Gallagher a couple weeks ago. His character needed a tune-up and he is by far one of the more entertaining and talented members of the 205 Live roster. Not withstanding that is “The” Brian Kendrick, whom is the veteran of the 205 Live roster who cannot be taken lightly. On the other side, you have Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann. Two young, hungry lions that are thirsty for a big win on a major stage. I’ve gotta go with Jack Gallagher and “The” Brian Kendrick on this one folks, via shenanigans.

WINNER: Jack Gallagher & Brian Kendrick

@JustinWatry: I am a fan of Jack Gallagher. I love the act and think his potential is sky high. No wonder why he was a surprise entrant in the 2017 Royal Rumble match. I am also a fan of Brian Kendrick. The veteran has done a good job doing his thing and also helps training others, so the value is there for him. Even in 2017. I am ALSO a fan of Cedric and Rich. Both are great athletes and more than proved their worth last summer. The standing ovation for Cedric and the handshake from Triple H is still an awesome moment to replay over and over from the Cruiserweight Classic. Swann has catchy music and is one of the rare WWE theme songs I play on a weekly basis. That being said, this TLC card is littered with filler. I wrote about it in my column earlier in the week and despite all the talent in the ring, that doesn’t change the fact that this division is not even close to being relevant. Sorry.

WINNER: The concession stands

Steve Cook: I have nothing to say about this that is either relevant or true. I’m sure it’s packing in the fans for 205 Live though!

WINNER: Alexander & Swann

Kevin Pantoja: The cruiserweights have TWO main card matches. Stop the presses. This has actually been built up quite well and Jack Gallagher’s heel turn has gone smoother than expected. His pairing with The Brian Kendrick has been interesting, while Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann are probably the two best babyfaces in the division. I’m still waiting for Alexander to get the push he deserves. I’d love to see him as the Cruiserweight Champion. I’m gonna say the heel duo wins to help further establish them. Swann and Alexander will be in the same position with a win or loss.

WINNER: Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick

Jake Chambers: So far this PPV is looking like an okay episode of Main Event! If we could squeeze a Heath Slater match in here somewhere that would be great. And a recap of the Sami Zayn promo from Smackdown on Tuesday might actually be better than anything else on this show.

WINNER: Um, that team with the two guys who nobody cares about

Mitch Nickelson: I’m a fan of 205 Live and I like all four men in this tag match. I could see one of these duos being inserted into a main roster tag division and being sort of relevant. I think this should be entertaining from bell to bell but I don’t really care who wins because there’s nothing actually at stake. Since I’m going with Enzo to win in the Cruiserweight Championship Match, I’ll pick the good guys here to give a heel/babyface win balance among the littler guys on this card.

WINNER: Cedric Alexander & Rich Swann


“The Phenoma-Hill” Ken Hill:

The demonic, stylish clash we’ve dreamed,
so now let the bullets pierce the sky!
A “blessing” from the mumps
pulled this match from the dumps,
so take wing and get ready to fly!

Can’t deny I’m about 10X happier that this match is taking place. I feel for Bray being diagnosed with the mumps and being sat out for Sunday, but they picked quite the “phenomenal” substitute, didn’t they? A Smackdown wrestler on RAW does throw me off a little, but WWE’s never been above bending the rules of ‘brand splits.’ If anything, they can make this, along with Mahal’s challenge to Lesnar, a prelude to the “bragging rights” motif that the company has in mind for Survivor Series next month.

As for the match itself, Balor’s on the cusp of emerging onto the Universal Title scene, but Styles has already made the direct challenge to Mahal for his WWE World Title and needs to reaffirm his status as a winner and not a “loser”, according to the Modern-Day Maharaja. A victory after a grueling, extended match versus the other former Bullet Club leader would go a long way in reestablishing Styles as a big threat to the WWE World Title (and hopefully the last challenge as well).


Justin Watry – Well, it seems Bray Wyatt is also out. Okay, fine. I doubt many cared for the whole Sister Abigal thing anyways. Take a negative and turn it into a positive! That is what WWE has done for the past thirty years. This is no different. Oh, our guys are sick? Here, have Angle and AJ FREAKIN’ Styles! From Smackdown LIVE, we are getting The Phenomenal One taking on Finn Balor. The Demon is actually going to have a classic bout in 2017. Folks, that was not going to happen against Bray. Versus Styles though? Yes, I’m expecting a classic. Sorry, my hopes are VERY high for this one. TLC just got a whole heck of a lot more interesting. My pick remains Balor. Funny both appear to be going after their top titles soon (Brock Lesnar and Jinder Mahal). Like I said, just give me an excellent match, and I will be more than satisfied.

Wild world this professional wrestling is, huh? We went from a full blown reunion of The Shield to Kurt Angle returning to the ring after 11 years and AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor instead. Amazing…

Winner: Finn Balor defeats AJ Styles clean

Steve Cook: Now this is more like it. Get well soon Bray, but Finn vs. AJ is several thousand more times interesting than The Demon vs. Sister Abigail, or the AJ vs. Jinder Mahal match that we seem headed towards at some point. If Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are in the building one can expect them to interact with these good brothers at some point in the evening. With AJ as the visitor to Raw & brand tension seeming to build once again it makes sense to have Styles get the win, perhaps with a little unseen help from the Good Brothers.


Jake Chambers: Fine, I’ll admit it, I’m slightly intrigued here. Certainly, compared to the blurb I wrote for the original Demon King vs. Sister Abigail match, this one is gonna be WAY more positive. Who doesn’t want to see the WWE present just one of the many first time and/or dream matches they’ve been squandering with this incredible roster while they wheel-spin with crap like Wyatt vs. Balor for 3 (or more) PPVs in a row? AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor is a pretty awesome match… 10 years ago… in TNA or NJPW. A 2017 WWE version, though… eh, let’s just try not to be too naive here. But, hey, one can dream right? That’s why we’re still talking about this shit, waiting for that one magic moment when everything instantly turns around and gets awesome. Could this be it?

WINNER: The former Bullet Club leader who had too short of a World Title run and has never been used well since

Brandon Ewing: It’s amazing how plans can drastically the course of an event, much less a match in general. WWE is giving the fans a dream match in place of a match that most fans had low expectations for (“The Demon King” vs. “Sister Abigail”). Look for AJ and Balor to put on a wrestling clinic and tear down the house this Sunday. Tough one to call here, but I’m going to go with Finn Balor.

WINNER: Finn Balor

Mitch Nickelson : The rumored plan for Finn Balor beyond his feud with Bray Wyatt has been that he’ll be challenging for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship soon. Finn is long overdue for another shot at the title that he technically never lost. However, the weak Wyatt/Sister Abigail hasn’t exactly set him up as a formidable contender. Who’s to seriously believe he could slay the Beast Incarnate when he’s spooked so easily by a high-pitched Bray? The best possible ending for this match up between Finn Balor and AJ Styles is for Finn to go over clean. AJ Styles is undeniably a top contender in WWE. Pinning him is a huge stamp of legitimacy to carry into a face-off with Lesnar. The last minute setup for this contest as well as having to step into enemy territory for the SmackDown competitor should prevent this loss from hurting Styles in any major regard. Even after a loss, AJ can brag about his fighting spirit because win or lose, he’s always willing to lace it up with the best competition on the planet. Originally, I picked Finn over Bray if that matters now.
WINNER: Finn Balor

Asuka vs. Emma

Ken Hill:

Oh, Emma’s as evil as the day is long,
And she’s as hot as the sun is bright.
Will she conquer the undefeated Empress?
…you’re kidding me, right?

I think my oh-so “eloquent” rhyme speaks for itself…


Brandon Ewing: Poor Emma, lol. Asuka gets the debut win on the RAW Roster. I personally would like to see a decent-to-good match out of this, but I have a feeling WWE would want Asuka to squash Emma in quick fashion to make her deadly as possible in order to send a message to the rest of the roster.


JUSTIN WATRY: No explanation needed…is what I would normally say. However, I feel I am being too negative about this event, so I need to sing WWE’s praises here. The hype surrounding Asuka coming to Raw has been handled very well, and I fully trust the company knows what to do with her upon arriving. They did a great job making you want to see TLC for her debut, which was the entire point of the announcement last month. Kudos to WWE. Good for Asuka. Bad for Emma.


Steve Cook: Apparently Nia Jax wasn’t happy because she wanted to take on Asuka on this show. I mean…I assume the best-case scenario here is Asuka running through her first opponent like a hot knife through butter. Nia Jax isn’t ideal for that role. Emma is.


Kevin Pantoja: If given time to produce an actual match, this could be the show stealer. I do worry that this will be nothing more than a squash that goes under a minute to establish Asuka. However, I can see them picking Emma for this match because she’s worked Asuka a bunch and could have a good match with her. Either way, Asuka starts 1-0 on the main roster.


Jake Chambers: Predictable ass garbage. Waste of time for everyone involved, including the fans. Mickie James, who’s done pretty much nothing but lose (including to Asuka) since returning to the WWE, and has done it with such little flair that no one cares, is getting a bullshit title match, while Asuka the hyped up, undefeated darling of the WWE has to come in and walk over some jobber first? What, are we supposed to think Asuka is going to do something different here than she normally does? Is she about to unleash an awesome new version of her move arsenal? Fuck no, it’s gonna be the same shit we’ve seen her do on NXT for years. This is the WWE equivalent of giving us Batman or Spider-Man’s origin story all over again. Everyone watching knows what she can do, and if there are some kids or morons in the crowd who don’t, why do we all have to suffer just so they can get a hand-holding? Just another case of WWE doing as little creatively as possible to continue to pull in the minimal amount of financial return from the largest possible number of dumb-ass fans who will keep paying for this shit – of which, sadly, I am still one.

WINNER: Oh, the foreigner who will never be taken seriously

Mitch Nickelson: There’s absolutely no way that Asuka is losing here. She’s gone undefeated for her entire NXT run so this debut match against Emma has to be one of the biggest locks in pay-per-view predictions history. I haven’t seen the betting odds yet but it might be a good idea to throw a few bucks in on Emma just in case an act of God occurs. In the extremely unlikely event that something unforeseen does go wrong (injury, nuclear attack, alien invasion, etc.) to affect the obvious match ending, one could stand to make a hideous amount of money on a fluke Emma win. UFO crash landings notwithstanding, Asuka wins.


WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore

Ken Hill:

The King’s abdicated his throne,
And flown WWE’s Cruiserweight coop.
Now Enzo has “nefarious” flunkies,
To throw champ Kalisto-borg for a loop.

Neville’s sudden take of leave from WWE, confirmed, denied or otherwise, puts a real wrench in the future plans for the CW Title, as he was supposed to be the one to eventually regain the title from Enzo, necessitating the sudden title change from last week. With new cohorts in tow, it seems quite probable that they will aid Enzo in regaining the title on Sunday, which may very well lead to an all-CW Survivor Series match, which would then help set up Enzo’s next title feud (Mustafa Ali, most likely, given his recent involvement with Enzo).

WINNER: Enzo Amore

Brandon Ewing: The two men who are now at the top of the 205 Live/Cruiserweight division food chain. Who would’ve thought that Enzo would be the man to give 205 Live that added boost? Be that as it may, Kalisto is a logical and perfect fit for the division and I was not too surprised to see him capture the title from Enzo a couple weeks back on RAW. This is going to be a helluva match and could be a sleeper hit for the night. I’m predicting Enzo will win back the Cruiserweight title thanks to some outside interference from his new 205 Live buddies/henchman. This will help setup a traditional, 5-on-5 Survivor Series match with Team Enzo versus Team Kalisto in November.


Justin Watry: Rumor has it Enzo is regaining the Cruiserweight Championship. For the love of all that is good and well with this division, please no more title changes! I dare anybody to tell me the history of the former champs since last September without looking up the answer. Tough to do off the top of your head and requires a lot of thinking. It shouldn’t be that way at all. Kalisto just arrived, has proven to be a good asset for WWE and is building fan support. Stick with him. Enzzzzzzo and his heel buddies can be humiliated for a nice laugh on Sunday. TLC will need all the help imaginable to keep Minnesota invested for the full three hours.

WINNER: Kalisto

Steve Cook: I assume Kalisto got to beat Enzo for the title as an F-U to Neville for walking out. WWE is all about having heels hold on to the championships and getting heat. Theoretically this works, at least that’s what people keep telling me. He now has such luminaries as Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, and Noam Dar backing him up. A Murderer’s Row if there ever was one. My guess is that Enzo wins so that the heels can dominate 205 Live and really get the WWE Network numbers up on that show.

WINNER: Enzo Amore

Kevin Pantoja: I still don’t get why Enzo dropped the title so quickly. I didn’t agree with him winning in the first place, but if they had to do it, I’d have gone with him in a Jinder like role. A guy who the crowd doesn’t like and holds the title for a while. Enzo as the guy everyone hated worked well. The match should be fine, and I suspect Enzo regains the title with help from his new buddies. It could set up a cruiserweight tag at Survivor Series.

WINNER: Enzo Amore

Jake Chambers: Since this is the only match I’m kind of looking forward to on this card, I’ve decided to take a page from my man Ken Hill’s book, or should I say, a stanza from his folio! Chamby’s might remember years ago I did the first ever all-poem 411 wrestling column, and anyone who knew me back in the day will recall that I’ve dabbled in the free-verse, poetry slam style. So here’s a little something I call “Limits”:

Weight, limits
limits on you mind, your body, your soul
Stop. No, not the soul.
The soul is an infinitesimal decanter of wine, and as long as you know how to pour you will get more and more
You can’t bottle the soul.
A’more, love
love is a title belt worn proud in the most star-studded of towns
Clowns, mocking his style as whack
so quick to attack, fickle like my momma when she was trying to kick crack
Yet the soul in Enzo is full of love and more
for wrestling, a true fan like a dove does soar
His feverish flamboyance brings eyes to the prize
And makes all the limits rise
a purple glow to the skies
Big Mac, Coke and fries
but don’t super size
a nymph, cries…
when champ be
once again

WINNER: This one is Enzo, clearly

Mitch Nickelson: Enzo Amore’s relationship with the 205 Live roster has evolved somewhat from the initial vibe of literally everyone hating him. Other than Mustafa Ali, he’s been able to get several of his cohorts to join him in giving Kalisto a few good beatdowns. It’s actually a decent use of the Smacktalker Skywalker, who serves well as the ringleader of the gang. Even though Kalisto has way more of a name than all other babyfaces on the roster, he’s not the right man to lead this division. The title needs to get back to Enzo and it needs to happen quickly. Until WWE takes some time to build up Cedric Alexander, there’s no babyface that should be foiling Amore right now.

WINNER: Enzo Amore

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James

Ken Hill:

Mickie’s shown much fire versus Alexa,
All stemming from simply being called old.
But with Asuka on the rise,
Alexa retaining here is wise,
A prediction that’s not exactly bold.

I like that they’ve given this feud some substance and fire so it feels like more than a holding-pattern match for Alexa (which it is, sorry Mickie, but you’re still fine). At the very least, it will make for a somewhat competitive interlude before Alexa eventually faces off with Asuka (and gets unblissfully kicked into oblivion).

WINNER: Alexa Bliss

Brandon Ewing: This is a very personal match that I’m the most torn for. On one hand, you have Alexa Bliss whom is the centerpiece of the RAW Women’s Division, whether you love or hate her. You can build her around any given babyface or heel and generate some golden opportunities with her character. Mickie James is the veteran who is thirsty for that one last run with the Women’s Championship before calling it a career. Since returning to WWE, Mickie has been used as the jobber veteran to the new crap of stars like Alexa, Nia Jax, and Emma. This is a tough one to call. Even though my heart would love for Mickie James to get the win, I’m going to go with my gut instinct and see Alexa Bliss retain the title. I’d like to see Alexa win at TLC, then have a rematch on RAW with Mickie capturing the title then and setting up for a RAW Women’s Survivor Series match between Team Bliss & Team Mickie.

WINNER: Alexa Bliss

Justin Watry: It’s about time Mickie James is in a prominent role again. Her comeback in NXT was well received. Her initial return to Smackdown LIVE was cool. Her move to Raw was a bit unexpected but was fine due to her relationship with Ms. Bliss. Then it all went down the drain. No hardcore. No country. No nothing. Luckily, Alexa needs an opponent for TLC and has time to stall before Asuka kicks her head off for the Womens Title. That means Mickie is given the spotlight for a month, and it is OH SO FINE. The results have been positive, so I hope it continues. Champ may retain but Mickie is back!

WINNER: Alexa Bliss

Steve Cook: It’s been a refreshing change of pace to see Alexa feud with somebody that isn’t Sasha Banks, or who isn’t the entire women’s division. Alexa & Mickie have history going back to Mickie’s return to WWE, and the back & forth here has been good stuff. I’d like to see this go on a little while longer, though it’s more likely that Asuka kills everybody in the division. Alexa will be the final boss. Though being a boss is Sasha’s gimmick.

WINNER: Alexa Bliss

Kevin Pantoja: Poor Mickie James. She had the Piggie James angle and now she has a title feud built around being old. This is Raw, so I could totally see them doing another pointless title swap here, but I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt. This feels like a filler feud for Alexa. Nobody has come out of feuds with Alexa looking better than when they went in (see: Becky Lynch, Bayley, Sasha Banks) and I’m gonna say Mickie takes the loss. This all has to end with Asuka beating Alexa. Right?

WINNER: Alexa Bliss

Jake Chambers: Let’s talk about Nia Jax. Here’s a giant wrestler, probably 3 to 4 times the size of champion Alexa Bliss or most of the RAW women’s roster, and yet she has she ever won a significant match. How do we take the entire division seriously when women who look like they weigh about 100 pounds can so easily be better “wrestlers” than the massive Nia Jax? Makes no sense. When Bayley defeated Jax by choking her out at NXT London a couple years ago, that was it, she was ruined – it was so stupid looking. The WWE is not genuinely interested in doing anything “different”, especially with the women’s division. How happy are they to finally come back around to a Mickie James vs. Trish Strat–I mean, Alexa Bliss feud? Two attractive white women with the added bonus of a Geritol joke or two. They don’t want Sasha Banks vs. Bayley and they certainly don’t want a Nia Jax champion who will force them to come up with new and creative ways to present awesome matches.

WINNER: The hot one who’s really at her best when acting like a bitch

Mitch Nickelson: This is one of the harder matches for me to call on this card. Alexa Bliss is pretty darn good at what she does and I usually like some stability among title holders in any division. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if Mickie James walked out of TLC with the title. She’s still can go and I’m guessing that she has some fans that would like to see her get the big win. A title change could happen, and it would be a momentary crowd pop, but ultimately I’ll stick with Bliss retaining. Alexa can hang on to the belt until Asuka ultimately takes it from her.

WINNER: Alexa Bliss

Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman, The Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus, & Kane in a TLC Match

Ken Hill: Kurt Angle as a substitute for a sidelined Roman Reigns certainly has me conflicted; from a fan standpoint, I’m excited to see Angle back in a WWE ring after over a decade and would love to see him suplex everyone and snap some ankles. Personally, though, I’m concerned for Kurt’s health. Given he’s fast approaching 50 years of age and has had numerous neck and back issues, a TLC match is definitely not an ideal scenario for his return. With that in mind, he’s certainly not going to be heavily involved in the match. In fact, I probably see him eating the pinfall. It’ll give Miz and his team a bragging point and keep things open for a full-on 5-on-5 rematch at Survivor Series (You could even have Kurt and “son” Jason as the Shield’s partners, both having tired of Miz disrespecting the Angle name), and it keeps the Shield strong as an unit, since they technically didn’t “lose” with Roman on the sidelines.

WINNER: Team Miz

Justin Watry – Wow. Certainly a shocking development and one that will be remembered for a long time. After more than 11 years, Kurt Angle is going to compete inside a WWE ring again. Maybe on last notice for fans, but he has made it clear that he has been ready for the call. The man has wanted to step back in the squared circle ever since his return to the company in early 2017. All he needed was medical clearance and the thumbs up from Vince McMahon.

Ironic that it has taken a roster wide illness to make it happen but whatever. Apparently, doctors are okay with this happening. I am sure Daniel Bryan is throwing a tantrum somewhere, but let’s be clear – Kurt Angle is a different person. He is not the same as Bryan. They have difference issues and are NOT one in the same. Duh? Well, yeah. It is easy to compare their two cases, but at the end of the day, they are different situations.

I am a tad bit concerned for what Angle will want to do in a TLC no rules setting (he will surely want to impress). However, I am confident WWE and Triple H in particular will put a leash on him. As they should! Make no mistake, he is well beyond doing moonsaults off a cage and flying around. Please understand this. Don’t go into TLC expecting the world from him. That is unfair and selfish. Let Kurt enjoy this moment and who knows? Perhaps it is a test for a WrestleMania 34 feud? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is the result is the same. The Shield (minus Roman Reigns) will win at TLC, and fans will get to witness the return of Kurt Angle! Very cool.

Winner: Kurt Angle pins The Miz.

Steve Cook: I have a million questions about the booking of this match. I’m pretty sure this isn’t how it will end up. People still might be sick. I have a feeling that Kurt’s son gets involved. There are a lot of moving parts. All I know for sure is that Reigns being out means the Shield guys will probably lose. He is The Big Dog.

WINNER: The bad guy team

Jake Chambers: I know that a vocal minority of gimmick commenters at 411 like to lump me in with the writers they consider “trolls” like Ken Hill and Justin Watry, but none of us are trolls, not the writers, not the fans, not even the people who are intentionally trying to be trolls… there’s only one real troll here and it’s the WWE. If a troll is someone who is intentionally producing content that will anger an audience by being contrarian, even against their own personal opinion, and refuses to ever change or listen to criticism, then this is what the WWE is doing. And while I kind of hate their current general creative direction, “trolling” is clearly a commercial business method that works for a hollow, capitalist company looking to divide their labor and produce meaningless simple content that can be sold to an audience conditioned to feel comfortable and empty. Creating an awesome PPV, an awesome episode of RAW, or even just one awesome match… well, that puts pressure on them to do it again, and that’s too risky. But producing hate-able bullshit is easy and works to keep people in 2017 talking and coming back. If you’re Lucha Underground or New Japan or Beyond Wrestling, I don’t envy any of you the task of living up to your last show in a toxic fan atmosphere where awesome is something that simply just exists and doesn’t require support. We’ve all become addicted to the endorphins that come from the edge of expectation for terrible content to maybe get better soon – like, it has to, right? Look at Ricochet, for example, he’s now counting down the days until he’s free from his Lucha Underground contract so he can sign with the WWE… and this has even made some “fans” excited. Now, what kind of backwards fucking world are we living in where that’s the case? I’ll tell you what kind, where money is all that matters. And in order to make the most amount of money in 2017, you need to figure out how to fuck people over for the biggest returns. Hollywood figured this out, Apple figured this out (once Steve Jobs died), The Bullet Club figured this out, and the WWE almost wrote the book on it. You might think Vince McMahon has “lost it”, but the dude is yet again one step ahead of the game. In the 80s people thought he was a piece of shit too for gentrifying a region-specific art form, but 30 years later we all look back and call him a genius for creating a global commercial phenomenon. So maybe in 2047, my grandchildren will look back fondly at the main event of TLC 2017 and see this interesting window into a period of wrestling culture where a genius businessman controlled the emotions of a nation of addicts, but to me – in this rare moment of clarity before I start scrolling through Twitter again looking for the latest pointless gossip – it’s a gross, boring, stupid-ass match that makes no sense and should be fucking lame. UPDATED: Eh, I’ll stick with what I said… just randomly throwing Kurt Angle into this match does NOT make it better!

WINNER: The team of guys who make no sense being together after a bullshit two-week “storyline”

Brandon Ewing: I originally had The Shield picked to win this contest and my decision here won’t change. This is going to be a hard hitting match that will deliver the goods and leave the fans happy at the end of the night. Kurt Angle coming out of “retirement” to wrestle will be a major draw to keep the fans tuned in for the event. This should be a solid main event to cap off TLC.

WINNER: Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins

Mitch Nickelson : This is really is the making the best of a bad situation. I was excited about the Shield reunion but who am I to complain about a Kurt Angle in-ring WWE return instead? Personally, I’d like to see WWE milk the full-on last minute Angle nostalgia by letting him score the pinfall. This can come after Miz and his interfering Miztourage buddies get into it with The Bar after miscommunication or whatever, essentially leaving Kane & Strowman left to fend for themselves. The spot I’m looking forward to the most is when Kurt Angle Olympic slams Braun Strowman, which should explode the crowd. And for the record, I was calling for The Shield to win originally before these last minute changes. I wonder when the eventual Shield in-ring return will happen now. Considering they might be factored into one of the big Survivor Series matches, they might get their 3-man return on free TV.

WINNER: Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, & Seth Rollins